Superheroes. We’ve all seen the pictures. Muscly guys with overdeveloped torsos. Bright coloured body hugging lycra. Saving the world from baddies. Marvelous! You’ve got to love them.
Today, being fashion Friday, I want to talk about my favourite superhero; the ubiquitous Mr Ben. All round good guy, snazzy dresser and hero of my childhood, way back in the 1970’s.
First, I should tell you a little about myself. I am the youngest of four; a happy accident as my mother used to say…The other three are 12, 15 and 16 years older than me.
So I grew up in a house of busy parents and angsty teenagers. Good job we had telly. I watched a lot of it. In fact I spent some of my happiest hours in front of it.
It was there that I encountered MR BEN.
So, who was this Mr Ben?
Let’s just say he was a man who liked to dress up. Most of the time he was pretty understated, repressed even; a black suit, bowler hat sort of guy- then he discovered FANCY DRESS and met the fabulous fez wearing shopkeeper.
And MAGIC happened. Literally. Any time Mr Ben went into the changing room, he exited through a magic door which led him into a costume appropriate world. IMAGINE THAT!
When he put on a pirate costume he automatically entered a world of pirates and so on and so forth for thirteen episodes.
And what did he do on arriving in the costume appropriate world?
Well, funnily enough there was always a problem which needed sorting out and Mr Ben proved himself pivotal in finding solutions.
The moral element was nice. We all knew where we stood. Mr Ben liked to dress up- and when he did, he would help someone with a pressing moral dilemna. Not in a wham, bam… boom manner, but in a gentle, good sense must prevail sort of way.
So that was Mr Ben. Do- gooder extraordinaire with a penchant for fancy dress. Perfect superhero for fashion friday. Check him out. The artwork alone merits a visit.
Many adults feel that telly is bad for kids.
I don’t know. It’s probably OK in moderation- as part of a balanced, healthy diet- like the occasional bar of chocolate. That’s me, as a parent speaking.
However, for the child that I was back in the 1970’s, telly was unquestionably brilliant.
I’ve meandered through subsequent decades with one abiding dream.
I want to write books for children. This has been fueled, in large part, by what I watched on telly as a small girl.
Who knows whether the stuff I write will ever make it into the commercial domain. It doesn’t really matter. I do know that the desire to write is a good thing. It’s a creative thing. It’s the sort of thing that I would like my kids to do.
So thanks Mr Ben for beckoning me through the magic door into the fabulous land of pen and paper. Thanks David Mc Kee- who invented Mr Ben. And thanks to the BBC who broadcast Mr Ben- See you all next week!